From The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and Andrew Leman comes the excellent “The Call of Cthulhu,” a short film I was lucky enough to experience years ago and was lucky enough to re-visit. From 2005, the independent effort channels the horror and sheer terror of HP Lovecraft’s mythology so well, the time manages to fly by without a hitch. “The Call of Cthulhu” is a brilliant throwback to the silent film era channeling the likes of Val Lewton to bring audiences a love letter to a time in film when horror meant the twang of the score, and focusing on the horror of our actors.
“The Call of Cthulhu” relies admirably on the cast to convey the sheer terror they can’t quite bring to the big screen, and it’s a remarkable success. The main character seeks out this monster continuing where his grandfather left off, but what basically starts as a journey in to darkness through obsession, ends with something so much more sinister. I’ll admit that I’ve never read a piece of literature from Lovecraft, but I know of the author, and “The Call of Cthulhu” is a work of love from none other than a source you’d expect.
From the very beginning, director Leman drowns the audience with thick tension and deep stark blacks and then keeps us in to this a rewarding tale of the incomprehensible being known as Ctlhulhu. Leman’s direction is gorgeous with wonderful set pieces, and beautiful cinematography, while the story’s tension mounts minute to minute for the big pay off. For such a modest production, it sure garners some fantastic special effects, especially in the climax where the sailors finally go above and beyond this legend. With skillful editing, and a climax reminiscent of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” the stunning finale left me sinking down in to my seat and clutching for hope.
“The Call of Cthulhu” is a masterpiece of the neo-silent movie era that delivers on mood, dread, and terror with near perfection. If you’re a Lovecraft buff you owe it to yourself to experience what Andrew Leman and his group have put on film. It’s absolutely extraordinary.